NFL Hot Press: Bears Thinking Edge, WR, or OT at No. 9

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Naturally, there has been a ton of attention on what the Chicago Bears will do with the No. 1-overall pick of the 2024 NFL Draft. With the ninth-overall pick, Chicago is in great position to really upgrade its roster. There hasn’t been much attention on No. 9 slot, but in speaking to sources with Chircago, the team has some specific positions in mind. Primarily, the Bears have in mind to target an edge rusher or wide receiver at with the ninth pick of the 2024 NFL Draft. An offensive tackle is also an option if they fall in love with a player.

Through the draft and/or free agency, the Bears want to add a pass rusher to go with Montez Sweat and a wide receiver to go with D.J. Moore. At pick No. 9, the top edge rusher might be available in Alabama’s Dallas Turner. Turner, however, may not get to the ninth pick. Teams like the Cardinals, Chargers, Giants and Falcons all are options to take Turner, and they hold picks No. 4-8. It will be interesting to see if UCLA’s Laiatu Latu or Florida State’s Jared Verse emerge as top-10 options. Right now, I have not heard buzz with teams that Latu and Verse are top-10 candidates. However, I am digging on that with team sources at this time, so check back later this week. Hopefully, I will have some answers.

At wide receiver, the Chicago could have a shot at players like LSU’s Malik Nabers or Washington’s Rome Odunze. Nabers easily could be off the board by pick No. 9, and Odunze is in play for teams in the top 10 as well.

Last year, the Bears selected right tackle Darnell Wright with at No. 9 overall, but that would not stop them from doubling up at the position. The team believes in left tackle Braxton Jones, so the tackle position is not viewed as big of a need as edge rusher and wide receiver. However, if there is a tackle prospect who the Bears have fallen in love with, they could draft the tackle and move Jones to the interior of the offensive line. Some top-10 options along the offensive line could include Notre Dame’s Joe Alt, Alabama’s J.C. Latham and Penn State’s Olu Fashanu. Alt could easily be off the board to the Chargers, Giants or Titans, which have picks 5-7, so Latham or Fashanu are more likely candidates for the Bears.

Free agency could have a big impact on Chicago’s draft decisions as well. If the Bears make a big move for an edge rusher or wide receiver, that could push them to address the other position. If Chicago fills its needs in free agency, that also could lead to the offensive line being a bigger consideration as well. In my latest 2024 NFL Mock Draft I have the Bears addressing one of these premium positions, and sources with the Bears suggest this is the current thought process in Halas Hall as well.